Interior Doles Out $70 Million To States For Endangered Species
The Interior Department has announced some $70 million in grants to 29 states to support conservation planning and acquisition of key habitat for threatened and endangered species.
The grants, which are funded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund and authorized by Section 6 of the U.S. Endangered Species Act, will benefit species ranging from the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker in the Southeast to the threatened spectacled eider in Alaska.
“Today’s grant awards recognize the important work that states and their partners are doing to conserve and recover threatened and endangered species,” said Interior Department Secretary Gale Norton. “Grants are an important tool in our efforts to empower local governments and citizens as they seek to develop voluntary conservation partnerships that provide real benefits to listed species.”
The Section 6 grant programs include the $6.6 million Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program, the $51.1 million Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program, and the $12.7 million Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program.
The three programs were established to help reduce potential conflicts between the conservation of threatened and endangered species and land development and use.
The largest pool of funds – from the Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Program – will help states acquire land associated with approved Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP).
The $6.6 million from the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program provides grants to support the development of HCPs and the $12.7 million from the Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program funds acquisition of habitat for endangered or threatened species in support of approved recovery plans.
The Interior Department reports 1,263 species listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
The Bush administration, which has been criticized by conservation groups for its policies regarding endangered species protection, has not listed any species under the law. Administration officials say the Endangered Species Act does little to actually recover species and is in need of reform.
Provided by theEnvironmental News Service.